SAN DIEGO, April 23, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Military and commercial users would be able to launch payloads more rapidly and at lesser cost under a study project being undertaken by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for a new generation, rapid response, small launch vehicle to place small payloads in low Earth orbit.

The company has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for the first phase of the program, known as Responsive Access, Small Cargo and Affordable Launch (RASCAL). During the nine-month first phase, Northrop Grumman will provide technical and cost information to determine the feasibility of developing a RASCAL demonstration system.

The three-phase demonstration program will comprise four critical technology areas: high-powered, short-cycle propulsion systems; a low-cost reusable launch vehicle (RLV); a low-cost expendable rocket vehicle (ERV), and the technology to stage the ERV and control the RLV in the Earth's outer atmosphere. Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB), Dulles, Va., is the lead for the ERV portion of Northrop Grumman's RASCAL concept.

"Both commercial and military customers have an urgent need to significantly reduce the cost of putting payloads into orbit, and in the case of the military, there is often a requirement for very rapid response," said Mark Gamache, Northrop Grumman's RASCAL program manager. "RASCAL will demonstrate how we might help those customers achieve their cost and performance objectives in the future. This agreement also is significant for Northrop Grumman because it continues our expansion into space systems."

Northrop Grumman's work on the $1.9 million contract will be performed at its Integrated Systems facility in San Diego, Calif.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. Integrated Systems has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management, early warning, airborne electronic warfare and air combat aircraft. It is also integrating these capabilities for emerging network-centric warfare concepts.

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  CONTACT:   Cynthia Curiel
           Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
           (858) 618-4355